Most of the old Champlain Bridge collapses in Montreal

MONTREAL – Much of the old Champlain Bridge collapsed this weekend, as the 60-year-old structure is being dismantled piece by piece.

The bridge was opened to traffic in 1962 and was closed in 2019.

Much of its steel structure has now disappeared.

“This portion was particularly impressive and delicate and therefore several months of planning,” said Natalie Lessard of the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI).

Using strand jacks and a barge on which to rest the structure, the piece of steel was lowered onto the St. Lawrence Seaway at a time when the seaway was closed.

“We had a very small window of opportunity when we could do it,” said Lassard. “That’s why we are doing this in mid-January instead of during the summer.”

Many members of the Kanien’kehá: ka (Mohawk) community of Kahnawake on the South Shore of Montreal have a close connection to the old bridge, as the community’s ironworkers helped build it.

“Ironworkers love to build and when something breaks we know what too? They are going to build something else, ”said Lindsay Leborgne, head of the Kahnawake Mohawk Council and former ironworker. “We also asked people in our community to work on the original and also on the replacement bridge.”

The steel span will be pulled upstream and possibly dismantled. The dismantling of the entire bridge is expected to take another two years.

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